This day is monumental for me in every sense of the word. I completed the last of my final exams for the rest of my college career. When my professor passed out the final in-class exam, I read over the questions that I, admittedly, did not study for, my heart sank. I knew I wasn’t as prepared as I needed to be, but I trusted my brain and went for it. Halfway through the exam, I felt completely overwhelmed and momentarily contemplated quitting and walking out. But I convinced myself to keep going because leaving at that moment would have been possibly the most idiotic decision of my life. After finishing it, I immediately felt the need to scream at the top of my lungs. Unfortunately, a few other people in the room had not yet finished, so my desire to act like a maniac was squashed. Clearly, I did not to my best work, but by that point, I was thinking, D is for diploma (don’t quote me on that one kids).
Feeling a sense of accomplishment and excitement, I made my way back to the bridal salon to pick up my wedding gown, which I love and fits, and all that happy jazz. The day that you will be seeing it draws ever-nearer! Get pumped.
During the drive, my mood suddenly changed from beyond ecstatic to feeling a sense of calm, quiet relief. It’s over. Everything I’ve worked for over the past 16 years of my life has brought me to this last day of immense stress followed by a release of all of the tension that has been building up in me over the past 9 months of school. What an amazing feeling, and what a great ride it has been.
In thinking back over the past four years, it’s all such a blur. I remember moving my brand new dorm-ware into an old, bare room, and lying in bed that night thinking about how strange it was to be on my own. Thoughts of the first time I ever saw the man I am about to marry, as he walked down the stairs of the building in which I just submitted the last school assignment of my life, flashed through my mind. Meeting new and interesting people and equally weird and creepy individuals over the years have made so many great, funny, unusual, and unforgettable memories for me. I’ve come to understand that people come and go, and one must be choosy with whom they place their trust; but I’ve also begun to appreciate and comprehend the depth and strength of the bonds of love and friendship.
I’ve learned so much about myself through this process, and I definitely agree with the old adage, “Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.” I know that the “official” day marking the end of this journey is graduation, but by then, my mind will already be in South Africa. Today, my mind is here, and tonight, I am basking in my new-found freedom.